• Kabe
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    10 months ago

    Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

    from Cory Doctorow’s article on ‘enshittification’, which has become mandatory reading.

    • @Candelestine@lemmy.world
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      2010 months ago

      Just to add, the concept of a bait and switch, where you lure a party in with something and then swap it out once they are committed, is not a new idea in the slightest. This is just a modernized, refined tech version.

      Uber and Lyft are good examples. Drive out most of the competition with an aggressive early phase where you spend most of your capital to shore up a massively negative balance sheet. You are baiting the customers to you with very low prices.

      Then once the competition is eliminated, you raise your prices on the captive consumers that rely on the service to recoup your costs and start making money.

      If you, in a video game, have ever lured something in with ranged attacks and then switched to melee to kill it, by plan, you executed this same strategy.

      Every single discounted trial period for a subscription is employing a riff on the same concept, where they hope you’re too lazy to cancel.

      Fools been falling for the bait and switch since … oh dawn of civilization maybe? Awareness of it defeats it, people don’t take bait when they know it’s bait. It is not complicated though, and does not require complex understanding to grasp.

      • @SkyNTP@lemmy.ml
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        810 months ago

        IIRC, it’s in the article, but what makes enshitification so prevalent in tech is that it mostly involves networks, wherein part of the value of using the application comes from the presence and concentration of other users and providers on it (network effect). Even Amazon, Netflix, and Uber, are subject to that effect because they capture providers, not just users you will interact with. It’s a somewhat uniq trait that really exacerbates the problem. This trend will probably continue untill interoperability is legislated.

        • @funnyletter
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          310 months ago

          Right before the pandemic I was trying to not use Amazon anymore (I said f it during the pandemic because it was so hard to get ANYTHING for the first six months, but I need to go back to it). There was some random thing I wanted to buy, so I hunted down the manufacturer’s website and ordered it from them directly.

          The thing still arrived in an Amazon envelope from an Amazon fulfillment center in an Amazon delivery van, because the small manufacturer was using fulfilled-by-Amazon for all their logistics, even for stuff sold on their own website. So apparently I can’t even stop using Amazon if I want to!

      • @StankFlipper@lemmy.ml
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        310 months ago

        Your metaphor reminded me of killing vampires in Skyrim and it made me smile as I also feel a deep sorrow from the fact all major companies now are racing to the bottom while leaving their skidmarks on everything I used to love.

    • kratoz29
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      1310 months ago

      This can’t be true, Reddit said they cared about community /s

    • @cilantrillo@lemmy.worldOP
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      1210 months ago

      That was a good read, the thing is that it seems that all of a sudden a lot of tech companies are getting more and more anti-consumer. I mean it’s not only the whole Reddit and Twitter thing, now Youtube is getting more aggressive with adblocking, Stackoverflow and their mod protest, Google dropping support for the open source diaper and messaging apps on Android…

      Many companies are getting more aggressive against their customers, and in the end it feels like the internet as it used to be is really dying, and we might end up with the whole “dead internet theory” becoming reality. I don’t know it just feels very depressing.

      • Kabe
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        10 months ago

        If you haven’t already, I suggest reading Stop Talking to Each Other and Start Buying Things: Three Decades of Survival in the Desert of Social Media, a blog post by Catherynne M. Valent. (It’s actually referenced in the article above.)

        It’s long, funny, and angry and damn, did it strike a chord with me. It was written in December, '22 so pre-Reddit meltdown but still very relevant to it.

        Some highlights include:

        Stop talking to each other and start buying things. Stop providing content for free and start paying us for the privilege. Stop shining sunlight on horrors and start advocating for more of them. Stop making communities and start weaponizing misinformation to benefit your betters… It’s the same. It’s always been the same. Stop benefitting from the internet, it’s not for you to enjoy, it’s for us to use to extract money from you. Stop finding beauty and connection in the world, loneliness is more profitable and easier to control.

        Over and over again … I’ve joined online communities, found so much to love there, made friends and created unique spaces that truly felt special, felt like places worth protecting. And they’ve all, eventually, died. For the same reasons and through the same means, though machinations came from a parade of different bad actors. It never really mattered who exactly killed and ate these little worlds. The details. It’s all the same cycle, the same beasts, the same dark hungers.

        All … gone. Dismantled for parts and sold off with zero understanding that the only thing of any value the site ever offered was the community, its content, its connection, its possibilities, its knowledge. And that can’t be sold with the office space and the codebase. These sites exist because of what we do there. But at any moment they can be sold out from under us, to no benefit or profit to the workers—yes, workers, goddammit—who built it into something other than a dot com address and a dusty login screen, yet to the great benefit and profit of those who, more often than not, use the money to make it more difficult for people to connect to and accept each other positively in the future.

        It does end on a hopeful note, though.

        Don’t ever stop talking to each other. It’s what the internet is really and truly for. Talk to each other and listen to each other. But don’t ever stop connecting. Be a prodigy of the new world. Stand up for the truth no matter how often they take our voices away and try to replace the idea of reality with fucking insane Lovecraftian shit. Don’t give up, don’t let them have this world.

        Don’t get cynical. Don’t lose joy. Be us. Because us is what keeps the light on when the night comes closing in. Us doesn’t have a web address. We are wherever we gather. Mastodon, Substack, Patreon, Dreamwidth, AO3, Tumblr, Discord, even the ruins of Twitter, even Facebook and Instagram and Tiktok, god help us all. Even Diaryland.

        It doesn’t matter. They’re just names. It doesn’t matter who owns them. Because we own ourselves and our words and the minute the jackals arrive is the same minute we put down the first new chairs in the next oasis. We make our place when we’re together. We make our magic when we connect, typing hands to typing hands.

        Hello, world. Come in from the cold. This will be a good place. For awhile. And then we’ll make another one.

        Stop buying things and start talking to each other. They’ve always known that was how they lose.

        • @dottedgreenline@lemmy.ml
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          110 months ago

          I cannot read that and feel how short-sighted it is. The death of online communities due to money sucks. But how about the actual death of physical people and their physical communities due to literally the exact same thing? It seems douchey to complain about capitalism killing message boards and not connect the idea at all to how it has been killing everything on earth since humans became a thing.

          • @MrBubbles96@lemmy.ml
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            110 months ago

            Here it is: good ol’ “Whataboutism”, I almost had hope that one discussion could survive without someone going “wait, what about this other thing that people know and probably care about, but is completely irrevelant to the current conversation at hand?” but ah well, today just wasn’t the day, I guess.

            Seriously tho, to borrow your first sentence: I can’t help but read something like “But how about the actual death of physical people and their physical communities” and think…are people just incapable of caring about two seperate issues of different scales at the same time? I don’t know, maybe I’m weird because I don’t suddenly think of the all starving people around the world and bring them up when the topic of the closing of the food joint a couple of blocks down gets brought up by the regulars…

      • lightrush
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        1010 months ago

        Interest rates. Money isn’t free anymore. It’s still not super expensive but it’s 5x more expensive than what it used to be since 2008.

        • @sunbeam60
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          510 months ago

          This is the answer. The age of free money is over and now we are seeing the effect; rampant inflation and high interest rates. The chickens come home to roost, always.

          As a result, the burn rate and runway is starting to be factors in all businesses that aren’t making a profit.

      • @Exec@pawb.social
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        510 months ago

        Many companies are getting more aggressive against their customers, and in the end it feels like the internet as it used to be is really dying, and we might end up with the whole “dead internet theory” becoming reality. I don’t know it just feels very depressing.

        With all the distributed social networks getting popular only among tech-literate people it feels like we’re getting a reverse- Eternal September as well.

      • @xavier666@lemm.ee
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        410 months ago

        2022-'23 really has been the year of enshitification

        But I think it all started with Tumblr

      • @CavalierAlbatross@lemmy.world
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        310 months ago

        A few companies open the floodgates and takes a lot of the blame, flak, and focus (see: Netflix, Twitter). Other companies can seize the moment and ride the wave to potentially increase profits with less blowback than they might otherwise receive.

      • @0x0@programming.dev
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        110 months ago

        I think you mean dialer.

        Many companies are realizing they can screw their users over and turn a profit for their actual bosses, the shareholders. Whether that’s true only time will tell.

    • @hawkwind@lemmy.management
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      210 months ago

      I think the exception is companies “too big to die.” They serve as the archangels of tech so ALL other goals lead to being bought by FAANG or dying.

      • epicspongee [they/them or he/him]
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        310 months ago

        To expand on this, it’s not just capitalism - it’s greed.

        No it’s just capitalism lol. Every company has to continue reaping in profits for capitalists or else it dies. This is just Reddit’s way of doing that.

      • @duncesplayed
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        210 months ago

        I don’t think “greed” is quite the right word. “Greed” would be the right word if they were trying to make themselves more profitable. But they’re not: they’re trying to make themselves profitable at all. That’s not about greed, but about surviving. You can’t survive unless you stop hemorrhaging money at some point.

        Maybe the question is “Why do investors invest so many hundred of billions of dollars into companies that cannot be profitable without becoming super-shitty? And why do users join them knowing that they’re going to become super-shitty one day?”

        • epicspongee [they/them or he/him]
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          210 months ago

          I don’t think “greed” is quite the right word. “Greed” would be the right word if they were trying to make themselves more profitable.

          I mean regardless of whether it’s greed or not it’s happening because they need to generate a profit period lol.

          “Why do investors invest so many hundred of billions of dollars into companies that cannot be profitable without becoming super-shitty? And why do users join them knowing that they’re going to become super-shitty one day?”

          David Harvey has been ringing the bell on this for at least a decade lol. Effectively capitalism runs out of profitable investments when you need continued YoY growth. Like finding trillions of new investment opportunities a year is just not realistic. So capitalists fund bullshit projects and flow their money into markets where the perceived value is significantly greater than any of the actual socially necessary value. And that distance grows greater over time, until people realize ‘what the fuck are we funding’ (like what happened with crypto, or the metaverse), and then that gap immediately shrinks and the unlucky capitalists lose their money. And that will continue happening.

      • @infotainment@lemmy.world
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        710 months ago

        Exactly – this is almost certainly bad for Reddit’s business at this point. The problem here isn’t necessarily capitalism so much as it is a egocentric CEO gone mad with power.

        • @SpaceToast@mander.xyz
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          410 months ago

          I don’t even think it’s a bad business decision.

          Most people didn’t use 3rd party apps to begin with. I’d guess about 75% of the vocal minority who protested, will continue to use Reddit.

          And a very small % of people will quit Reddit in favor of Lemmy.

          • @infotainment@lemmy.world
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            110 months ago

            I’d argue it is, because of the damage they’re doing to their brand.

            I’ve said it in a couple other threads, but Reddit has other ways they can monetize their 3rd party app users, such as requiring subscriptions to use third party apps, or even by simply giving third party app devs a longer lead time to change to a paid model. Instead of doing either of those things, the CEO had a tantrum and alienated a bunch of people.

        • @applejacks@lemmy.world
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          310 months ago

          Yea, I am not a capitalism enjoyer, but it’s comical watching people insert their favorite pet politics as the sole reason for everything that’s happening.

      • @zombiepete@lemmy.world
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        110 months ago

        What’s good for making more money is not always or even often good for what we would think of as customer-friendly business. If you can wring more money out of a few whales at the expense of pissing off customers who don’t create as much revenue, then in our current system that’s what shareholders apparently want.

        Reddit wants more users in their official app where they can target them for ads, sell NFTs, and whatever other bullshit they want to sell. It doesn’t matter if the experience is worse, and it probably doesn’t really matter if a couple thousand 3PA users split for good. As long as they can tell investors that the official app use is growing and that they can target a greater percentage of users with ads and data, they feel like they won.

    • @JohnDClay@sh.itjust.works
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      310 months ago

      But first be not as terrible to the users to attract them, then hope they’re lazy enough to not go anywhere when you treat them terribly later while they squeeze value from them

  • Sploosh the Water
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    2810 months ago

    Capitalism. The incentive for any large, profit-motivated firm will always be to get the most people to pay as much as possible for as little as possible.

  • @s_s
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    10 months ago
    1. The growth of online advertising revenue slowed in 2022 for the first time since 2009.It still grew, just slower.

    2. Interest rates went up.

    3. With the collapse of crypto and Silicon Valley Bank (which was overleveraged in crypto), VC money isn’t as free flowing. There really wasn’t that much institutional money in crypto, but it’s still a destablizing force and has had a ripple effect.

    4. AI is making more people aware of bots. This is related to point #1. A huge, unknown percentage of of FAANG revenue is selling online ads to bots instead of real eyeballs and once the word gets out, ad revenue will slow even more for any service depending on online ads (eg reddit).

    • @homesnatch@lemm.ee
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      510 months ago

      One correction, SVB was not over-leveraged in crypto, they had too many government bonds when the interest rates went up, devaluing them.

      • @s_s
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        210 months ago

        That makes a lot more sense. Thank you.

    • @Hipstershy@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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      110 months ago

      Note that a lot of tech companies, particularly startups, operate at a massive loss while they increase their market share and outcompete established competitors. The idea is that once they’re entrenched they can start raising prices and cutting back on expenses to start making massive profits-- see how great it was to use Uber 10 years ago and Amazon 15 years ago versus now. This heel turn was always coming for a lot of these companies. Interest rates rising and investors being less willing to hand over cash after high-profile failures like crypto just hastened the shift.

    • Scrubbles
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      110 months ago

      I love number 1. The economy didn’t die, the money hasn’t dried up, these companies aren’t circling the drain.

      they just haven’t made much more money than last year

      And for some reason our gambling addict stock market economy says that’s a horrid thing. To only make a fraction more than last year’s record profits.

  • @j4k3@lemmy.world
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    1310 months ago

    The interest rate hike in the USA by the federal government caused this. The companies can’t borrow money for nearly free any more. All the entities who would have been offering these loans are now able to buy government bonds with a much more guaranteed return on investment. This means the corporations must squeeze more profit out of their products to pay back loans. There are an enormous amount of large money transactions like this used to run a large business. They do not operate on cash reserves all the time. They have assets and are always evolving to stay relevant. Most businesses have enormous asset holdings but limited liquidity.

    • NaN
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      10 months ago

      This best answers the OPs question. We know why it happens in general, but this is why everything is doing it in overdrive right now.

      I also think Spez is trying to rush into an IPO before the bottom truly drops out and the company folds.

  • @Lemminary@lemmy.ml
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    1110 months ago

    Twitter had experimented and had a fair system in place through previous trial and error. Elon thought it wasn’t good enough and then ran into the wall face-first thinking he was smarter than the average guy. Spoiler: he wasn’t.

    • @spiderkle@lemmy.ca
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      10 months ago

      Elon is a dufus. But Twitter burned about half a billion per year before being aquired. Those silicon valley companies are unprofitable zombies for decades without it’s users even realizing that the service won’t be free forever. They continue eating through borrowed venture capital and investment rounds (expecting returns). Having to charge a price for your service is ok, but it’s harder after it was free & doing it without an explanation. It’s a given that reddit is still very much unprofitable but their PR would be in a much better position if they were more transparent instead of just dictating changes & terms to their volunteers.

  • PorkRollWobbly
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    1010 months ago

    Dr. Capitalism, or How I listened to stop worrying and love the dollar.

  • @NASAFan555@sh.itjust.works
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    810 months ago

    Regarding Twitter, Elon seems to like trial and error, right? That’s how SpaceX developed their rockets - by trying new things and testing them frequently, to see if they work.

    So with Twitter I think he’s just trying to see what he can get away with. And if he can’t get away with something then he’ll just roll it back.

    As for Reddit, I guess they saw Twitter trying to squeeze more money from their platform and thought “let’s try that too”.

    • @Lemminary@lemmy.ml
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      510 months ago

      Twitter had experimented and had a fair system in place through previous trial and error. Elon thought it wasn’t good enough and then ran into the wall face-first thinking he was smarter than the average guy. Spoiler: he wasn’t.

  • @ira@lemmy.ml
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    710 months ago

    Interest rates had been historically low for a long time. Loans were cheap and venture capital was flowing freely. Tech companies could focus more on growing their market share with lots and lots of runway before they needed to become profitable.

    Then during the pandemic, Congress gave a massive bailout to businesses. Inflation went skyrocketing, and the Fed had to raise interest rates to limit the damage.

    Now money isn’t flowing nearly as freely for tech companies. Loans are more expensive, and investors are more content to leave their money in high-yield bonds instead. Tech companies are pivoting to stop chasing market share and instead start taking their profits from their current market share, even if it means their market share stops growing.

    • @CmdrShepard
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      210 months ago

      I don’t think bailouts lead to inflation rather the increase in wages during the pandemic due to staffing shortages. The working class finally got ahead a little bit and now companies are trying to correct that and put us back in our place by increasing their prices and blaming it on inflation. Funny how they claim their costs are increasing while they keep getting record profits each quarter. That can only happen if they’re lying about the scope of increased costs.

    • @TrainsAreCool
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      110 months ago

      Even if it means they lose market share.

      Tech companies of all sizes are scrambling to show profitability, and those which aren’t ready to adjust, or have an unprofitable business model in the first place will likely struggle. Unless they have enough cash reserved that they can get buy until another period of low interest rates and investor eagerness. But there’s no telling when or if that will occur.

  • @johnthedoe@lemmy.ml
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    610 months ago

    When a company goes public it becomes something that needs to “appeal to the public”. It’s like when a movie wants to appeal to everyone. By doing so it ends up appealing to no one in particular and it’s a successful meh movie.

    Going public then you have a committee of board members making decisions. And who’s going to be on a board? Bunch of rich people who only care about making it the best company for the public. Effectively ditching everything that makes a company risky or unique.

    Going public can also be good cos you’ll have public money to invest in new and better tech or systems or acquisitions. So the future they have in mind seem to not include a lot of us. It’s a direction that’ll strip anything unique about reddit and become a successful meh platform

    • BarqsHasBite
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      10 months ago

      It’s a more direct path: going public means they want money. Money, profit, and as much as they can get. That means ads, subscriptions, ads, tracking, ads, data gathering, ads, and the best: get back to work you unpaid peasants mods.